The Pitman Pride varsity boys soccer team cemented their case as a CCC front runner in their final season after crushing El Capitan at home on Friday afternoon in their penultimate game, 8-1, and forcing a winner-take-all scenario on Wednesday against their rivals, Turlock High.
Turlock lost to EC, 2-0, on Jan. 24.
“I did not expect this result at all. I am happy for our kids, but I did not expect it to be this lopsided,” said Pitman head coach Brian Hofsteen. “They came out and their confidence is as high as it’s been all year. We had a good practice on Thursday, they came out playing as if they are having fun. Having the bye week helped since we were a little banged up too.”
Pitman hasn’t lost since falling 4-0 to Buhach Colony back on Jan. 12.
Last time these two teams met, they tied 1-1 on Jan. 19, at the Gauchos home field.
Going into the game, the Pride knew the significance. Essentially, it was win or no chance at the league title.
The Pride came out and played like real contenders after they notched five goals in the first half. The first 26 minutes to be exact.
The first half included goals from Sammy Azizian (2), Felipe Lopez (1), Daniel Galdamez (1) and Hector Cardenas (1).
In the first 22 minutes, the Pride had well over half a dozen shots on target. They continued to dominate the pitch and toy with EC for the remainder of the first half as they led 5-0.
“There is a drive closing in on the season, coming down to the last games and Wednesday they knew we were right there and had to win because all the four teams are within a point,” said Hofsteen. “I think that is what it is, so getting their health back up and generally having fun and the chemistry has been great all season, so seems like they are peaking now.”
Damian Huerta notched a goal to start the second half at the 44th minute, which made it 6-0. Luis Robles drilled the seventh goal four minutes after at the 48-minute mark.
Irvin Garay-Martinez scored the eighth and final goal off a penalty kick with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
EC scored their only goal as the game came to a close and the whistle was called less than five seconds afterwards.
Turlock is 6-2-3 with 21 points in the CCC standings. Pitman is 5-1-5 with 20 points.
Pitman will square off with Turlock for the CCC title from Stanislaus State at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“Now, they know how important it is at the end of the season, for the CCC title, and last year being in the CCC, so they are going to come out with energy there is no doubt about that,” Hofsteen added. “Wednesday is going to be intense, it’s great that it is senior night, under the CSU lights. We will just see what happens; it’s going to be a great game and we are going to be ready.”